National Geographic : 1950 Oct
The National Geographic Magazine Storm Snoopers Stalk a West Indian From his forward station in the "greenhouse" of a officer hands back a coded message to the pilot, who will operator. At the Joint Center in Miami, this report will to track the "big 'cane." As the plane hits the violent co hang on to their seats. Once in the eye, flight is serene f "If a hurricane builds up in an isolated region, a report of changing or rising winds from a ship may alert us. The message might show an ENE wind at 45 miles an hour where the weather map has previously been flat and featureless." Charts of Atlantic hurricane paths from year to year show that most of them follow curving routes from southeast to west or northwest, toward the West Indies and south ern North America. Reaching the regions of prevailing westerly winds, they recurve north or northeast, sometimes hitting the eastern United States on the turn. Storms originating in the western Carib- bean or the Gulf of MIexico may follow a nearly northerly path. Some storms wander aimlessly, occasionally even doubling back to cross their own tracks like half-tied knots. One cyclone won the name "Yankee Hurri cane," because after its birth east of Bermuda it moved toward the Equator, hitting Flor ida from the northeast. Hurricanes Die Out over Land As the hurricane passes inland, over big islands or continental mainland, friction causes it to lose its power and violence. A storm also dissipates rapidly when it moves over cooler waters, where it no longer can draw strength from the transfer of warm seas' heat into motive energy (page 548). Characteristic of a hurricane is prodigious rainfall. Occasionally the teeming downpour in 24 hours of a tropi U. S. Air Force, Official cal cyclone has ex ceeded the total aver Hurricane age annual rainfall for .n RB-29, the weather familiar great cities Pass it on to the radio be charted with others like Chicago, San re, observers stop work, Francisco, Paris, Rome, or a few minutes. or London. Baguio in the Philip pines in July, 1911, was soaked by 46 inches of rain in 24 hours. In four days skies have emptied more than eight feet of rain on Jamaica. The Miami Weather Bureau once recorded 1.32 inches of rain in 10 minutes! Slow Waves on the Beach? Beware! In flat, low-lying land, like southern Florida, water dumped by hurricanes often piles up faster than it can soak into the ground or drain away to sea. Floods send animals and reptiles, as well as humans, hustling for higher ground. Livestock often must swim through turgid floodwaters toothed with unrooted trees, roofs, fence rails, and telephone poles.